4G iPhone: EFF criticizes police conduct in Gizmodo raid, says invalid warrant used

Apple Online Store“Police raided the house of an editor for Gizmodo on Friday and seized computers and other equipment. The raid was part of an investigation into the leak of a prototype iPhone that the site obtained for a blockbuster story last week,” Kim Zetter reports for Wired. “Now, a legal expert has raised questions about the legality of the warrant used in the raid.”

“Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Chen is protected from a warrant by both state and federal laws,” Zetter reports. “The federal Privacy Protection Act prohibits the government from seizing materials from journalists and others who possess material for the purpose of communicating to the public. The government cannot seize material from the journalist even if it’s investigating whether the person who possesses the material committed a crime.”

“Instead, investigators need to obtain a subpoena, which would allow the reporter or media outlet to challenge the request and segregate information that is not relevant to the investigation,” Zetter reports. “‘Congress was contemplating a situation where someone might claim that the journalist was committing a crime [in order to seize materials from them],’ Granick says. California state law also provides protections to prevent journalists from being forced to disclose sources or unpublished information related to their work. ‘California law is crystal clear that bloggers are journalists, too,’ she says.”

Zetter reports, “Apple is on the steering committee for the REACT task force that raided Chen’s house. Formed in 1997, REACT is a partnership of 17 local, state and federal agencies tasked with investigating computer- and internet-related crimes.”

Read more in the full article here.

70 Comments

  1. As usual, EFF has it wrong. Thecraid was not an attempt to muzzle a blogger (who I don’t consider to be a journalist) but rather an investigation to see if the individual was an accessory to a theft. That would not, nor should not protect any journalist.

    The EFF is becoming a techno-ACLU.

  2. So, am I to gather that all I have to do is create a news ‘blog’ site and and rob my neighbors home as long as I wrote about what I took, I would be safe from prosecution?

  3. I didn’t realize that bloggers/journalists were like foreign dignitaries – immune from any criminal Investigation or prosecution.

    Perhaps I will start blogging and running a crime ring trafficing in stolen property while being immune from the law.

    What a country!

  4. Don’t forget that gizmodo had put out what amounts to a bounty for any new Apple tech. It seems to me that that would effect the choices someone finding a prototype might make. If no one had offered money for stuff like this then it would be more likely that they would just bring it back to Apple.

  5. This asshat had gone on record many times in the past as saying that he wasn’t a journalist, might “accidentally” end up doing journalism, and so on – but NOW he’s going to claim he’s protected because it was journalism? What a jerkoff.

  6. So let me see if I understand her point. If I wanted to start a criminal organization all I have to do is start a blog so I would be protected as journalist. Then when the government got wise to me they would have to notify me. I would then decide what incriminating information I have that I think pertains to their investigation of me. Of course, being the nice guy that I am, I don’t delete it but had it over to them so that they can put me in jail. Sounds good to me.

    I hope this doesn’t hold up in court because you will never be able to convict anyone who has a Facebook or other social networking (blogging) account.

    Cheers

  7. Gizmodo took Apple on and in it’s zeal to penetrate Apple secrecy and expose it’s new products before the company itself, they published a challenging offer of cash for any Apple IP, secret info, or prototypes. They went even brazenly further in their initiation and instigation of Apple theft/piracy ( which was directed at Apple employees particularly) by publishing a “no questions asked” disclaimer.

    There are definitely grounds for an investigation. Stay tuned…

  8. 1. I’m skeptical that an internet rumormonger, like MDN, has standing as a real journalist.
    2. Shield Laws don’t protect journalists that commit crimes. If Chen received a prototype secretly from a disgruntled employee of Apple, well maybe he deserves shielding, despite not really being a journalist. Gizmodo and Chen committed felony by buying stolen property. This marks the difference between real ethical journalism and whatever Gizmodo is.
    3. If EFF is right and the warrant is improper, then a judge will rule in a criminal proceeding. If the judge thinks that Chen is a real journalist AND the warrant was improperly issued, then all evidence from that warrant will be suppressed. This is a legal issue not an opinion from the blogging world.
    4. I could be wrong, but I’m not seeing a big leap to the defense of Gizmodo from the real press.

    @Uh, no. The ACLU has one purpose in life, that is, to protect abuses of the Bill of Rights. You know, that thing you right wingers like to say is important, unless it’s against what you BELIEVE in. So, I take from your snarky remark about the ACLU that you hate the Bill of Rights. It figures

    @My 2 Cents. Good point. Actually, real journalists, do have shield laws that allow a free press. They don’t have to divulge their sources. They cannot be compelled to turn over materials. But no, they cannot commit a crime to obtain information. They can’t break into the offices of Apple and steal documents. But they cannot accept and pay for stolen property. And diplomatic immunity, though heinous, protects our diplomats in other countries from being falsely accused of crimes. It’s critical to a smooth functioning international system of diplomacy.

  9. Apple could end up having Gizmondo shut down just like it did with ThinkSecret.

    Given that Gizmondo effectively bought stolen goods Apple could go far in litigation even if the Police decide not to prosecute.

    Any sizable penalty and Gizmondo would have to shut down. Apple generally has a lose rein on the rumor sites but there seems to be a point where when they go too far Apple come down on them like a ton of bricks.

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